Troye Sivan closes tour in Vancouver with 80s pop nostalgia

Troye Sivan with Carlie Hanson and Kim Petras at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 11/08/18

Troye Sivan @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Troye Sivan. Photo by Ryan Johnson.

The final show of former YouTube star Troye Sivan’s Bloom Tour sparked both a rippling sea of energy and a sense of community among his fans at a sold-out show Thursday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

There’s something about being constantly reminded that it’s the final show that makes a crowd more uninhibited and ready to have fun. The phone lights were already swaying side to side three songs into 18-year-old opener Carlie Hanson’s set. But the all-out 80s-inspired dance party didn’t truly begin until Kim Petras, a transgender native of Germany, stepped onto the stage.

Carlie Hanson @ Queen E
Carlie Hanson. Photo by Ryan Johnson

Singing through a heavy auto-tune machine, her set was pure synth-pop bliss. Accompanied by a ridiculously goofy DJ bouncing around the stage, it was hard not to smile. With her funk bass-lines and choreographed dance moves to every delightfully sugary synth stab, it felt like a popstar of the past had been transported to the theatre.

Finally, Sivan stepped out through a small hole in the curtains to deafening screams. Wearing a white peacoat, his vocals sounded impressively similar to the record as he sang through the opening notes of “Seventeen.” Ducking back behind the curtain, it suddenly dropped mid-song to reveal a full band.

Photo by Ryan Johnson

“Seventeen” details Sivan’s first romantic experience with an older man he met online. It was a poignant opener, as there aren’t many mainstream pop stars who speak as openly and explicitly about the gay experience as he does.

The fans’ response made it clear they were appreciative of a place to be themselves, letting out a huge cheer whenever the rainbow lights flashed. The crowd was dotted with numerous pride flags, which they waved wildly during fan favourite “Bloom.”

“Big night for the gays!” observed Sivan, looking out at the audience.

Sivan played his latest album, Bloom, in its entirety. But it was the six tracks from his debut Blue Neighbourhood that really resonated. The crowd clearly sang louder in response to his older material, especially “Fools” and “Wild.”

Halfway through the show, a room with a couch and five lamps rose up from beneath the floor. Sivan sat forlorn on the edge as he dropped into “Postcard,” a song about loneliness. His keyboardist was revealed sitting on the other side of the couch, singing featured artist Gordi’s part, it made for a captivating theatrical moment.

Troye Sivan @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Troye Sivan. Photo by Ryan Johnson

Sivan remained on the couch for a string of his more minimal, emotional tracks like “The Good Side” and “What A Heavenly Way to Die,” imploring the crowd to introduce themselves to their neighbour so they had “a friend to cry with.” Sivan’s vocals aren’t the flashiest, but he more than makes up for it in emotional delivery.

The beat kicked back in for “Bite,” the band hilariously switching instruments for a few seconds at the end to the surprise of Sivan – “When did you rehearse that?” he yelled.

Returning for an energetic encore comprised of his two biggest singles “Youth” and “My My My!” – Sivan gave a powerful final speech. Citing the “scary time” in America, he stated that “playing these shows gives me so much hope. You guys represent so much good in the world.”

Boy Erased, a film starring Sivan about a teenage boy enrolled in a gay conversion therapy program, opens in Vancouver today.